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General state of the industry thread.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by DanOregon, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I was wondering where the next generations of reporters for the NY Times and WashPo will be coming from with local papers taking such a beating. Are local papers still a viable training ground for top journos or are you better off working for websites and magazines?
  2. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    State of the industry? Simple: We're all fucked.

    To answer your question, it seems they're largely training these reporters on their own. They're doing internships, pick the standouts from there and give them associate reporter jobs when there's an opening, and then keep promoting from within.

    Occasionally they'll poach from others. I think a few NYT political reporters came from Politico. But more and more it seems to be homegrown talent out of J school.
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Is that where they came from to begin with?
  4. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    I assume the “work your way up the ladder” path is as dead on the news side as it is in sports, both because they can hire untrained kids cheaper and because no one seems to respect the podunk times anymore.

    Seems to me a cub reporter would rather be woke on twitter than cut their teeth at a school board meeting.
    Tweener, garrow, Bronco77 and 2 others like this.
  5. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    The broken/nonexistent ladder is a blessing and a curse today. I couldn't dream of covering a major college or pro beat when I was in my 20s, but bully to those who get those chances today. Certainly don't have to apologize. But what you lose are the chances to f*ck up with a lot fewer people looking. And there aren't copy editors to bail you out.
    Tweener, garrow, sgreenwell and 6 others like this.
  6. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Not sure about sports, but did regional papers make the bulk of the pipeline to politics/policy beats at the national dailies?

    If so, I think specialty publications like Morning Consult or paywalled data/news services like CQ or S&P (full disclosure: formerly employed there) could pick up some of the slack.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Back in the day, you'd try and get a gig at a local in Iowa or New Hampshire covering a primary. As an aside - it kind of hurt to see that local papers no longer sponsor the teens in the Spelling Bee (RIP Scripps).
  8. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    They’ll come from Ivy League schools or other top schools, out of internship programs.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  9. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    You mean they'd rather do what's easier, where there's less responsibility/accountability and less critically-thinking readers?

    That may be what they'd rather do, but he/she won't learn as much, make as many contacts or develop their reporting/writing skills as much by doing that.
  10. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Not easy as in lazy, but entitled as if to say “this school board thing doesn’t captial M Matter.” In some ways the aversion to podunk journalism is idealism run amok.

    Also if theyve paying attention to sports side, they probably know paying their dues isn’t what it used to be. Plenty of people are kicking ass on preps now into their 30s and 40s and they’re not getting called up in favor of cheaper children. It was only a matter of time before that translated to news as well
    wicked and Tweener like this.
  11. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    There are a hundred things that have hurt the field, but Twitter is still behind the awards culture and talk radio. Twitter is moving fast though. Sportswriters are largely insufferable, over-opinionated personas on there.

    At any rate, human interest stories are overvalued too as the cult of the individual has grown.
  12. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth - I'm 35, and I've been employed as a reporter mostly since I was 22. I've had two years of that 13 where I banked more than $30,000 in a year from journalism - both were with Patch in the mid-2010s, and mostly because their base salaries were higher in an attempt to lure "experienced" journalists to sites. I don't consider myself the second-coming of Dan Jenkins or anything, but I did win a couple of awards in that time span. I've been laid off four times, almost fired once. As far as I know, I'm the only person left in my graduating class still doing reporting. (Not that I haven't looked into other stuff; I've driven Uber and worked part-time for the USPS, but I always seem to land a full-time JOR gig before those jobs really stick.)

    Obviously, only one guy's experience here, but it seems like there are only two jobs left - Entry level / freelance, or management. Anything in the middle is gone. Even when I first got into the industry, I assumed I'd spend a couple years at a small paper and move on to something bigger. (Laid off after 18 months - womp womp.) If you aren't laid off within a couple years, the good reporters I mostly see networking their way to good, non-journalism jobs; tons of people from my university now work for that university, for state agencies as PR people, or at PR agencies. The bad reporters just stay at their shitty papers, because the management is bad and either won't fire them or lack the ability to refine their work. The rare times I've seen a good JOR job open in my old market, it was usually taken by someone in-house. (Gatehouse managing editor position filled by a city editor from another Gatehouse paper, sports job at big daily filled by freelancer they were using.)
    SFIND likes this.
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